Today From Bedtime Math: Knock Your Socks Off

Does your child want to set a world record? She should just go to her sock drawer and throw on 150ish pairs.
By Laura Overdeck
Sep 30, 2015

Ages

5-13


Sep 30, 2015

Of all the weird records a person could set, one we hadn’t thought of is socks. But Fiona Nolan of Ireland did think of it, and holds the world record for wearing the most socks on one foot all at once. She managed to stretch 152 socks over each other. This took some planning: she needed to find the thinnest socks possible, and as the socks piled up, the later socks needed to be bigger sizes to fit over the layers and layers underneath. Best of all, she did it to raise money to fight cancer: people who worked with Fiona gave more than $2,000 total to thank her for her “feat.” Now the question is, what size shoe was Fiona able to fit on her foot after that?

Wee ones: If you and a friend put a sock on each foot, how many socks do you put on all together?
Little kids: If Fiona normally wore a size 6 shoe, and the first 10 socks made her get a shoe 2 full sizes bigger, what new size would she have needed?  Bonus: If you wanted to count those socks backwards starting from 10, what numbers would you say?
Big kids: If Fiona was able to pull on 5 socks every minute, how many could she pull on in the first 9 minutes?  Bonus: If Fiona had put 152 socks on each foot, how many would she have worn on both feet together?

Answers:
Wee ones: 4 socks (2 per person).
Little kids: Size 8.  Bonus: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Big kids: 45 socks.  Bonus: 304 socks.

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